Chinese Broadcasters Sue Pirates in USA
Hong Kong, March 19, 2015: CASBAA – the Association of the Asia-Pacific Pay-TV industry – today welcomed press reports that Chinese-language television broadcasters had filed suit in US courts against companies promoting and selling a brand of streaming media boxes targeted at receiving large amounts of pirated TV programming.1 The suit was filed last Friday in Federal court in California by TVB from Hong Kong, CCTV from mainland China, and Dish-TV, a U.S. satellite television provider that carries legitimately authorized programming from many countries. They accused several companies of promoting a brand of pirate TV player called “TVPad.”
“Proliferation of ‘black box’ streaming media players is a deadly problem for the Asian and international television industries,” said CASBAA’s Chief Policy Officer, John Medeiros. “Governments are only beginning to take this problem seriously, and it is profoundly weakening their creative content producers.”
CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter noted that these devices are manufactured and sold by multinational criminal syndicates whose upstream arms intercept copyrighted TV channels and programs and stream them via the Internet to millions of consumers around the world. Programs and channels from all major TV broadcasters and producers are stolen in this way; both from international providers like HBO, Fox, Discovery and BBC, as well as from indigenous Asian producers from places like India, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“Asian content industries are particularly hard-hit by unrestrained export of these boxes to North America, Europe and Australia,” said Slaughter. “There are substantial niche markets for Asian content in those places, where consumers have a high ability to pay. With pirates stealing those markets, Asian TV companies are not able to expand investment in new content to meet the needs of the digital era. Media flows in the other direction are also affected: international companies and pay-TV platforms doing business in Asia face a growing problem. ”
Medeiros noted that last year, India and Hong Kong both acted to raid “upload points” for pirate streaming media syndicates, where local programming was being streamed onto pirate networks. “Those were great actions,” he said, “and governments have to persevere. If the syndicates are allowed to operate with impunity, the television industry will be decimated.”
Established in 1991, CASBAA is the Association for digital multichannel TV, content, platforms, advertising and video delivery across a variety of geographic markets throughout the Asia-Pacific. CASBAA and its members reach over 500 million connections within a regional footprint ranging from China to Australasia, Japan to Pakistan.